Published: July 4th 2010July 4th 2010
Irish sunny skies
The weather turned fabulous during our stay...what luck.
Our objective today was to get up early and head to the Dingle peninsula. Hahahahahahahahahaha...we were on the road at the crack of...noon. We rolled into Limerick instead. The first thing we did was have a snack before doing some sightseeing. We were in a bit of a hurry and that of course always leads to poor decision making and culinary disaster.
I had a god-awful fish and chips dish. There was a burger special listed on their board and I contemplated that for a bit. In the end I chose not to eat that as I envisioned it as a regular hamburger and my absolute rule about victuals while on vacation is to never eat what I can get at home. I was hoping for actual authentic “fish” with the usual chips (fries). I got what could be bought at the frozen food section in Albertson's supermarket, greasy breaded no-name fish. In other words, ugh!
Beth had a Ploughman's Sandwich...some nasty cheese with equally nasty pressed ham on nasty thick white bread. Gag! A lady next to me had ordered the burger. It wasn't a hamburger. It was a thick burger patty with vegetables. Doh! Coulda...woulda...shoulda!
We ate what we
Listening to Bach inside a centuries old cathedral has spoiled me for anything else.
could then headed to St. Mary's Cathedral (built in1168) located just across the street. There was a free scheduled recital in the cathedral that was just starting up. Bach was the featured composer. I don't like piano as a rule but organ music inside a centuries old cathedral is quite majestic. I confess that I did nod off a bit toward the end only to be startled by the Fugue in C major, “Gigue”; it was quite a crescendo. I came to with a “What the fugue!” exclamation expecting to see the Phantom of the Opera swinging overhead. Ok...that is a bit of an exaggeration. But really it was quite grand.
The churches and cathedrals we have visited thus far are quite austere in comparison to the ones in southern Europe. These are mostly gray rock exteriors and gray rock with some red brick interiors. Very gloomy and austere, none of that rich ornate baroque stuff. This may partially explain the lack of sumptuous cuisine.
Limerick is supposed to be a cleaner and trendier place than the Limerick described in Frank McCort's Angela's Ashes. Hmmm...maybe...but not by far. We took the walk that is laid out in the tourist guide
I'm spoiled by baroque...shrug...what can I say?
and were disappointed. Should you come to Limerick, I suggest that you stick to the old quarter.
We walked along the river, visited King John's Castle, the museum and were satisfied with that.
St. John's Castle is a highly instructive place to learn a portion of Irish history and the role that the castle played. There are mannequins dressed in period costumes and represent the important players during those particular times. They also have a video presentation that was quite instructive. The castle was the best part of the visit to Limerick in our opinion.
After the walk we were thirsty and we stopped in the same pub where we ate lunch to sit to have half a pint before heading back. Interestingly, our waitress was from Bulgaria. I immediately noted to her that she neither sounded Irish or looked Irish. She asked why and I told her that her English had a eastern European accent and she actually had a nice tan. She laughed and told us that she has been in Ireland for 3 years and she had gotten so white. “I've lost my color,” she said.
She was very friendly and gave us a recommendation for a
always inspires warmth in cold interiors.
snack as we were hungry but reluctant to sample any more of their fare. She reassured that a mussel dish was very fresh and quite good. It was. This was pretty much the pattern with our food adventures thus far; something really good on the menu balanced out by equally bad stuff.
I asked if there were lots of immigrants and she said there were. She noted with disapproval the presence of the Polish. This group is not liked at all according to her. “They come and take advantage of the social service system and don't want to learn to speak English.” Hmmm...sounds like similar complaints at home about some of our immigrants. This by the way is not the first time I've heard an Irish person complain about this topic. The lady that sat next to us on our flight said the same things. She concluded that “We offered them a helping hand and this is how they repay us.” My advice to her was that there is truth in the old adage: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." The do-gooders of the world can't accept that people will screw you over just because they can
St John's Castle
Best part of our visit, but I love history so that may be a bias on my part.
and will because they can, good intentions notwithstanding.
We then headed home with every intention of getting up early the next day and head to the Dingle peninsula.
There are more photos below